Glass Maker Has Clear View to GrowthThu, 09/01/2016 - 09:51
All auto components need to have the highest resistance and durability to ensure passengers' safety. Glass is no exception and finding the right local partner can make a big difference in operating and logistics costs. Catering to that demand, Euroglas has emerged as the biggest glass manufacturer for the bus segment in Mexico.
Competing against other brands like Vitro and Citsa, the company has secured a strong presence in flat glass and curved glass, with a position also in the tinted glass market. Its array of products for the automotive industry includes windshields for buses, side windows for cars and rear windows for both.
Euroglas’ participation in the automotive industry began when Irizar brought its manufacturing operations to Mexico. The company was importing glass from Spain but realized Euroglas could provide better quality products locally. Euroglas’ first product patent was for rolled glass. Today, the company is working on a way to bend glass along three different planes and it has two processes for glass treatment. These are laminating or hardening through a tempering process. Tempered glass is four times more resistant than normal glass.
Based on Euroglas’ innovations, the company developed the first oven in Mexico that can temper and harden curved and flat glass measuring 3mm. “We are proud of the company’s technological development,” says Miguel Tovar, President of Euroglas.
Although the company’s biggest market is the coach segment, Euroglas has implemented a diversification strategy to target more clients. According to Tovar, the best-selling product for the company in 2015 was a smartglass blackboard used in light vehicle applications. The system included a projector, a QR code reader and was fully interactive. Euroglas manufactured approximately 1,500 units per week, exporting them to Germany, Spain, Canada and the US. “The more dependent a company is on one market the more vulnerable it becomes to external shocks. For that reason, we are focusing on exporting our products to the US, Europe and Brazil, as well as increasing our presence in the local market,” says Tovar.
Thanks to the growth rates witnessed in the automotive industry, Euroglas has seen a significant increase in demand for its products. “The combination of the industry’s success with the current exchange rate between the dollar and peso has had a positive impact on our sales,” adds Tovar. “Assembly plants that used to import their glass from China are shifting their supply chain to us, since the price of the dollar has increased costs.”
Maintaining the same growth levels for years requires commitment to efficiency. The company manufactures over 200 tons of glass in its first plant and will satisfy growing demand with the second facility. To help it reach that goal, Tovar says more efficiency is needed. “Bigger, more efficient lines of production are necessary in Mexico. Our current machines produce a piece of glass every 14 seconds. We want to push for four seconds per unit, which will require fully automated lines that can cut and polish glass.”
While Euroglas has focused on the window-manufacturing sector, Tovar’s goal is to keep innovating and taking advantage of the US$230 million glass market. The company is introducing new solutions targeting weight reduction, which will result in lower operating costs and emissions for the final client. Engineering advances in thermal insulation and soundproofing has also led Euroglas to glass-ceiling production. “Windshields could display GPS projections if we pushed the innovation,” says Tovar. “Our strategy focuses on the end user. It is important to maintain contact with our audience to know how we can provide better service.”